Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Classic Steak Tartare
Today, healthy-eating misconceptions in the United States, have made steak tartare a forbidden pleasure. In France, where they worry more about the taste of food than the bacteria count in it, they take their chances daily. And they seem to be healthier, with a better life, than their North American cousins across the pond.
It seems that the less people fret about the sanitation of the establishments and the food ingredients, the less they inundate their food with antibiotics and other chemicals, the more resistant to disease they become, perhaps because they build their own immunity instead of waiting for the producers to protect them from the perceived dangers of real, natural eating.
I like steak tartare and I usually eat it when I’m traveling in Europe – especially France.
I recently ordered some at a newly opened steakhouse in mid-town Manhattan.
The hand-cut meat seemed to be wagu steak full of fat, leaving a heavy greasy taste in the mouth. The chef that developed the recipe probably thought that offering fat-inundated meat, would show the customers that he was using “prime” ingredients. All I can say is, it was inedible; after a couple forkfuls I left the rest on the plate. I’ve had steak tartare in Michelin-starred restaurants as well as Parisian bistros and Lyonnais bouchons and tascas in Barcelona and Cáceres; everywhere the fresh meat was carefully defatted before chopping and blending in the rest of the ingredients.
Here is a recipe for a classic Steak Tartare, with raw meat and raw egg as the main ingredients.
Ingredients (2 portions):
1 lb. rump steak, all fat removed.
2 raw egg yolks.
2 tsp. cracked mustard or Dijon mustard.
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.
2 - 4 dashes Tabasco, Jamaican Pickapeppa Sauce or other hot sauce.
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil.
3 - 4 tbs. fresh lemon juice.
1/2 small white onion or a large shallot, very finely chopped.
4 cornichons, chopped.
1 tsp. capers, drained.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Whisk mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in olive oil and lemon juice until it becomes the constancy of a loose mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice meat with a very sharp knife into paper-thin pieces removing as much fat as possible. Gather pieces together and slice crosswise into smaller pieces, then finely chop them and add to the bowl.
Add finely chopped onions, cornichons and capers to the mixture and toss with two spoons until everything is well combined. Adjust seasonings.
Divide between 2 plates forming meat mounds. Use ½ egg shell, well cleaned without shards, to display a raw yolk on top of each meat mound; the eater will eventually mix the raw egg into the steak tartare. Serve with pommes frites.
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